Environmental Rule of Law


 

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Definition: 

The 'Rule of Law' refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency. (Source: Report of the Secretary-General on the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societie (S/2004/616); 'Environmental rule of law' integrates the critical environmental needs with the essential elements of the rule of law, and provides the basis for reforming environmental governance. It prioritizes environmental sustainability by connecting it with fundamental rights and obligations. It implicitly reflects universal moral values and ethical norms of behaviour, and it provides a foundation for environmental rights and obligations. Without environmental rule of law and the enforcement of legal rights and obligations, environmental governance may be arbitrary, that is, discretionary, subjective, and unpredictable. (Source: UNEP)

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  • environmental justice

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